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Communicating sensor data between electronic devices

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Title: Communicating sensor data between electronic devices.
Abstract: Sensor data is communicated between two electronic devices under control of the receiving device. For example, one device is equipped with one or more sensors that can produce a stream of real-time readings. The other device can request the sensor data from the first device and can also specify to the first device one or more throttling criteria to control or limit the amount of sensor data that is sent. Each throttling criterion can specify both a category of criterion (e.g., time-based, value-based, etc.) and a throttling parameter specific to the category. The first device can monitor the sensor data to determine when a throttling criterion specified by the second device is satisfied; when the throttling criterion is satisfied, the first device can send the current sensor reading as sensor data to the second device. ...


Apple Inc. - Browse recent Apple patents - Cupertino, CA, US
Inventors: Sylvain R.Y. Louboutin, Robert J. Walsh, Shyam S. Toprani
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120083911 - Class: 700 94 (USPTO) - 04/05/12 - Class 700 
Data Processing: Generic Control Systems Or Specific Applications > Specific Application, Apparatus Or Process >Digital Audio Data Processing System

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120083911, Communicating sensor data between electronic devices.

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CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/388,465, filed Sep. 30, 2010, entitled “Communicating Sensor Data Between Electronic Devices,” the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

The present disclosure relates in general to communication between electronic devices and in particular to communicating sensor data between two electronic devices, such as a computing device and an accessory.

Mobile computing devices, including smart phones, personal digital assistants, and tablet computers, are rapidly becoming ubiquitous. Such devices often include sensors that provide information about the device or its surroundings, such as ambient light sensors, proximity sensors, accelerometers, magnetometers, and so on. These sensors can produce a continuous stream of data, which is typically sampled by a processor within the device and used in various ways. For example, data from an ambient light sensor can be used to automatically brighten or dim the device\'s display. Accelerometer data can be used to automatically rotate the display based on which edge is currently pointed up. Magnetometer data can be used to infer orientation of the device (e.g., a compass direction), and this information can be used in navigation or other applications.

Some mobile computing devices can also communicate with “accessory” devices, such as speakers and/or video systems that can receive video content from the mobile computing device, remote control devices, and the like. The mobile computing device can, for example, stream media content (e.g., audio and/or video) to the accessory or receive control signals from the accessory to control playback, communication, or other operations.

SUMMARY

Certain embodiments of the present invention provide techniques for communicating sensor data between two electronic devices, e.g., a mobile computing device (MCD) or other computing device and an accessory. In these embodiments, a first one of the devices (e.g., the MCD) can be equipped with one or more sensors (e.g., light sensor, proximity sensor, accelerometer) that can produce a stream of real-time readings. This sensor data may be of use in the operation of the second device (e.g., the accessory). The second device can request the sensor data from the first device and can also specify to the first device a throttling criterion to control or limit the amount of sensor data that is sent. The throttling criterion can specify both a “throttling category” (i.e., a type of condition to consider, such as time elapsed, magnitude of change in the reading, threshold conditions, or rate of change conditions) and a “throttling parameter” specific to the category (e.g., a specific time interval in the case of a time-based category, a specific magnitude in the case of a magnitude-based category, and so on). The first device can receive the request and the throttling criterion and initiate a process that monitors the sensor data to determine when the throttling criterion is satisfied; when the throttling criterion is satisfied, the first device can send the current sensor reading as sensor data to the second device.

The following detailed description together with the accompanying drawings will provide a better understanding of the nature and advantages of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of a mobile computing device connected to an accessory according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 2-5 are graphs of a sensor reading as a function of time for a sensor, illustrating categories of throttling criteria according to various embodiments of the present invention. In FIG. 2, the throttling category is based on a time interval. In FIG. 3, the throttling category is based on a change in the sensor data. In FIG. 4, the throttling category is based on a threshold applied to the sensor data. In FIG. 5, the throttling category is based on a rate of change of the sensor data.

FIG. 6 is a simplified block diagram of a system including a mobile computing device and an accessory according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a table illustrating commands that can be used to communicate sensor data from a mobile computing device to an accessory according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a flow diagram of a process that can be used by a mobile computing device to send sensor data to an accessory according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a flow diagram of a process that can be used by an accessory to obtain sensor data from a mobile computing device according to an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Certain embodiments of the present invention provide techniques for communicating sensor data between two electronic devices, e.g., a mobile computing device (MCD) or other computing device and an accessory. In these embodiments, a first one of the devices (e.g., the MCD) can be equipped with one or more sensors (e.g., light sensor, proximity sensor, accelerometer) that can produce a stream of real-time readings. This sensor data may be of use in the operation of the second device (e.g., the accessory). The second device can request the sensor data from the first device and can also specify to the first device a throttling criterion to control or limit the amount of sensor data that is sent. The throttling criterion can specify both a “throttling category” (i.e., a type of condition to consider, such as time elapsed, magnitude of change in the reading, threshold conditions, or rate of change conditions) and a “throttling parameter” specific to the category (e.g., a specific time interval in the case of a time-based category, a specific magnitude in the case of a magnitude-based category, and so on). The first device can receive the request and the throttling criterion and initiate a process that monitors the sensor data to determine when the throttling criterion is satisfied; when the throttling criterion is satisfied, the first device can send the current sensor reading as sensor data to the second device.

The example embodiments described below relate to a configuration in which a sensor is present in an MCD and the accessory requests sensor data; however, it is to be understood that the roles of the devices can be reversed, with a sensor being present in the accessory and sensor data being requested by the MCD, and that the techniques described herein can be applied equally to both situations. Further, while the example embodiments described below make specific reference to a mobile computing device, it is to be understood that other types of computing devices can be substituted and that embodiments of the present invention can be applied in connection with providing sensor data between any two electronic devices.

FIG. 1 is a front view of a mobile computing device (MCD) 100 connected to an accessory 120 according to an embodiment of the present invention. MCD 100 can have a touchscreen display 102 surrounded by bezel 104. Control buttons 106 provided in bezel 104 can be used, e.g., to wake MCD 100 from a hibernation state, to put MCD 100 into a hibernation state, or the like.



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Data processing: generic control systems or specific applications
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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120083911 A1
Publish Date
04/05/2012
Document #
12967917
File Date
12/14/2010
USPTO Class
700 94
Other USPTO Classes
455 412
International Class
/
Drawings
7



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